One of the little-known perks of being a writer is that I get to pretend that I know all kinds of cool stuff.
Every character I create is an expert in something.
They can hack into top-secret computer networks, field strip an AK-47 blindfolded, make a peanut butter sandwich without dripping any.
These people have skills.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a writer (and writing halfway decent books is kind of a skill). But still, I wish I had the time, energy, and money to learn these four skills.
1. Draw Comic Books
There’s no way to say this without sounding like I’m bragging, so I’m just going to come out and say it:
I have absolutely no artistic talent at all.
My lovely wife, on the other hand, is an award-winning abstract artist. Art collectors around the world seek her out. I’m constantly in awe of the gorgeous paintings that comes out of her studio.
Me, I just wish I could draw a halfway decent picture of Spider-Man. But whenever I try, it comes out looking more like Garfield with some sort of head mutation.
2. Play Guitar
Once upon a time, I used to be a late night radio DJ with a heavy metal show.
Yes, that is totally true.
Yes, I got to meet and interview some cool bands. (Type O Negative was probably my favorite.) But for the most part, I was up late talking to smelly musicians you’ve never heard of.
Anyway, for some reason, I have met many writers who are also pretty good guitar players. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. However, I do play an amazing air guitar, especially to Metallica, Megadeth, and Alice Cooper.
By the way, did you know that there are actually air guitar world championships, with costumes, stages, lighting, and everything? Me either.
3. Fly a Plane
True story: my grandfather and his brother used to be barnstormers during the Great Depression. They flew their biplane all around the southern United States, putting on impromptu airshows for farmers and townspeople.
The real draw was that my grandfather was a wing walker. As the plane zoomed through the air, he would climb out of the open cockpit and walk along the wing, waving at the crowd below. Pretty amazing.
As much as I respect that, personally, I would probably stay in the cockpit. Maybe that’s just me.
4. Stunt Driving
if you’ve read any of my books or short stories, you know that I’ll put in a car chase at the drop of a gas pedal.
In fact, one time I received an anxious phone call about the manuscript I had sent in for The Spider Thief. It went more or less like this . . .
HER: So, what concerns me is that this whole book is basically one gigantic car chase.
ME: I know, right? Isn’t that great?!
HER: Hmm . . . No.
So as it turned out, there were other reasons I needed to rewrite the book. So I did. In the end, the published version is still chock-full of epic chases, and that makes me happy.
Before I became a full-time writer, I used to be a prototype vehicle test driver. However, the actual testing we did focused on real-world reliability. We didn’t get to do the cool stuff you see in movies: tire-smoking bootlegger reverses, ramping up onto two wheels, or jumping over a freight train.
I would love to learn how to do that. How about you?
What’s your skill wish list?
What amazing skill do you wish you had in real life? Leave a comment below.